Today’s court appeal by two members of a prominent Saudi Arabian human rights organization is a bid for justice amid a broader crackdown on activism in the Gulf kingdom, said Amnesty International.
On 9 March the Criminal Court in Riyadh sentenced Mohammad al-Qahtani and Dr Abdullah al-Hamid to 10 and 11 years’ imprisonment, respectively. The conviction related to their role as co-founders of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Organization (ACPRA), for which they faced charges such as disobeying the ruler, founding an unlicensed organization, inciting disorder by calling for demonstrations, and harming the image of the state by disseminating false information to foreign groups.
Besides the lengthy prison terms, their sentences included travel bans of equivalent length following their release. In April, they were given only a month to appeal the convictions after receiving a more than 200-page combined written verdict dated the previous month,.